I had finished the endless rounds of cleaning up mud and grass that, no matter what I do, ends up throughout the cottage and was sitting on the couch catching up on e-mails (and getting side-tracked by wonderful card making dies and stamps on the net) when the Dear One walked in boots and all..oh well….
Now one thing I have to explain to you is that my Beloved is a true Country Boy at heart but, after years of the rat-race and city life, has only just discovered just how ‘country’ he is. Together, we have discovered just how beautiful the countryside of France is, how much it has to offer and how slowly it tangles it’s serenity into your soul, allowing your mind to find tranquility and peace.
In he walks, and announces he has brought me a present. No, not a bunch of field daisies or the first daffodil of Spring but like and excited boy pulling a frog out of his pocket, with the flourish of a magician, he pulled out this tiny baby ‘rabbit’ and plopped into my lap.
What on earth? He explained that he was driving the big tractor through the fields on the far end of the property and was pulling the cutting plateau at the back trying to get some sort of control on the brambles and nettles that were growing in wild abandon all over the place. As he passed, he saw this little bunny hopping aimlessly around in every direction. He left it (as leaving your footprints on nature as small as possible is a good motto) but on his return, it was still there, out in the open, hopping first in one direction and then another. My Beloved has a marshmallow center when it comes to animals in distress so he got off the tractor and walked up to it. He could see it was very young and very thin and it didn’t run away when he scooped to pick it up.
Given the unique grand name of Thumper from the start, we weighed it and the breathing, living ‘scrap-of-nothing’ weighed just 120 grams. We’ve looked after bunnies before when we found them and their dead mom bit they were quite big, already eating grass and we didn’t keep them long before releasing them into the woodpile. I thought Thumper looked a little ‘different’ and was pretty much convinced that it was a hare and not a rabbit. This created a few problems because rabbits are born in a burrow, blind, hairless and helpless. When they venture out of the burrow, they’re dependent.
But a hare is different. A mom Hare will have one baby in a hollow dent that she makes in the sand. Quite a way away, she’ll have another one and may have three or four in quite a large area. The babies are born with hair that is speckled black, brown and beige like the surrounding grasslands and they know from the beginning to keep really still during the day and wait for mom to come and suckle them, one by one at night. We’ll never know why this little one was out and about. Perhaps it got a fright on hearing the tractor, left the safety of it’s shallow bed and got lost. From it’s size and still crinkly ears, we gathered it was no more than one or two days old and when we presented it with fresh young dandelion leaves, we realized then that it was too young to eat greens.
Hastily searching the Net yielded the recipe of watered down milk in syringe. Et Voila! Or baby drank its first meal. After having told the Owner of the Chateau about our new addition (he was due to visit that weekend) he came back to us via email to say he had been in contact with an expert on all things hare and rabbit and was advised not to feed the little thing cows milk as they are lactose intolerant. Great! Thumper seemed to be thriving on it but, he said, it will seem all is well but it will die suddenly after a week or so.
The alternative? Kittens milk (yeh right!) or Goat’s Milk. That we could do so off to the local supermarket and armed with said milk, we continued the hourly feeds. Thumper started to put on weight. Yay!